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non-bento 16: kaonashi and kodama onigiri July 16, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - non bento.
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3 comments

My boyfriend and I are on the road again! We’ve been trying to empty the fridge, so I’ve been making regular bento. But I still wanted to make a kyaraben-ish thing, so I decided to make breakfast.

Non-bento #16: Kaonashi and Kodama onigiri (rice ball)
Created and eaten on: 7/15/2009

Since we moved to the new office, we’ve been trying to find a good deli to get breakfast. But since our new office is closer to the big subway hub, it’s either expensive or they don’t care enough to make decent bagel (for my boyfriend) or coffee (for me) because they get so much traffic. So I’ve been trying to make breakfast for us in the morning, but it hasn’t been easy. If I’m making a regular bento, I have no time for making breakfast. If I’m making a kyaraben, I have nooooooo time for making breakfast. If I, miraculously had time to make it, I’d make rice balls like Doraemon rice balls. Doraemon rice balls were so easy, but these ones were even easier. I was thinking about what I could make with rice and seaweed, and I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of making this before. Kaonashi and Kodama! Not sure if I need to explain how I made it, but I’ll do it anyway.

I made three small rice balls with plain rice with salt, and put microwaved tarako (cod roe) inside. Then I cut a hole in the seaweed and put it over one of the rice balls for Kaonashi. I cut seaweed for for his eyes and the patterns on his face.

For Kodama, I cut seaweed into circle-ish shape and put them onto other rice balls.
(I put seaweed underneath the Kodama rice balls so that it’s easier to eat. The sticky rice (Japanese or Korean) is so sticky that you need something like seaweed to hold it without getting rice all over the hand.)

That’s it!

If you have access to sticky rice, this is probably the easiest kyaraben for a kyaraben beginner. You can definitely do this with white bread too.

Kaonashi:
– rice, salt, seaweed and cod roe

Kodama:
– rice, salt, seaweed and cod roe

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

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how to make kodama, moogle and boo ghost steamed pork buns March 26, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in how-to (all), how-to - decorations/basic stuff.
Tags: , , ,
7 comments

This recipe doesn’t use yeast, so if you want to make buns fast, this is for you! (But as I mentioned in my other post, it’s a bit dry inside.)
For more moist steamed pork bun dough, check out “how to make steamed pork bun dough with yeast.”

When I was experimenting with steamed buns, I realized that Kodama was perfect character to make with buns, so I decided to add Kodama for this how-to.

[How to make Kodama, Moogle and Boo Ghost steamed pork bun dough without yeast]
(makes 8 small buns)
– 1 and 1/4 cup of *cake flour
– 80 ml of water (5 and 1/2 TBS) or milk (I used water)
– 2 TBS of baking powder
– 2 TBS of sugar
– 1/2 TS of salt
– 1 TBS of sesame oil (or vegetable oil)

– seaweed for eyes and mouth (for Kodama, Moogle, Boo Ghost)
– kamaboko (fish cake) (for Boo Ghost’s teeth)
— red food coloring (for Moogle and Boo Ghost)
— wax paper or parchment paper

* I recommend "Swans Down Cake Flour" because it contains 2g of protein (gluten) whereas Pillsbury's cake flour (Softasilk) contains 3g of protein.

[pork bun filling]
– 1/2 lbs of ground pork
– About 1 cup of chopped leeks or scallion (you can put more if you want)
– 4~5 shiitake, chopped (if you have any. Make sure you remove the stems)
– half a can of bamboo shoot, chopped (if you have any)

[seasoning sauce for filling]
– 3 TBS of soy sauce
– 2 TBS of sake
– 1 TBS of sugar
– 1/4 TS of salt
– 2 TBS of sesame oil (or vegetable oil)


[dough]

1. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

2. Pour water (or milk) and oil into #1, and mix it with a spatula. When the flour starts to get lumpy, use your hand to mix. It may feel really watery at first, but keep mixing and the dough will start to get harder. Once it’s not a gooey mess, start kneading the dough.

3. When the surface of the dough is smooth, make it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and leave it for 15-20 minutes at room temperature.

[filling]
4. Make the filling while you wait for the dough to settle. Put all veggies in, pour seasoning sauce in, mix in ground pork with your hand. (*The picture shown is twice more filling than the recipe)

Before...

...and after. (*This is twice as much filling than the recipe)

5. When the dough is ready, roll it into a 12 inch cylinder shape, and divide the dough in half until you’re left with 8 pieces total.

6. Make each piece into a ball, and roll with a rolling pin to flatten the dough into 4~5 inch diameter shapes.

Keep the other dough covered with wet paper towel or wet cloth while you flatten the dough

* If you’re making a normal steamed bun (the one you close on the top), don’t roll the dough evenly flat. Leave the center part (where you put meat) thicker, otherwise when you try to peel it off from sheet the skin on the bottom might rip and the insides will come out.

7. Put the meat filling on the center of the dough with a spoon, and close the top. You can close the top in many different ways, such as typical fold & twist-close, Gyoza fold or etc… You can find many videos of how to fold & close a bun, so I’m not going to explain it here.
For the Kodama, Moogle, and Boo Ghost, I folded & twist-closed on the top and flipped the bun on either wax paper or parchment paper, so I didn’t have to worry about how the closed part looked.

Ta-da...? Don't worry, you won't see this side.

* However you close it, make sure it’s really closed! If it isn’t, it’ll open up and you’ll lose all juicy pork juice while you’re steaming it. Use a little bit of water to seal the dough tight.

8. Making the body parts for Kodama (or Moogle) is very easy. You just have to shape it and put it on, like playing with play-doh.

If you want to color the dough, just drop one drop of food coloring at a time into the dough and knead it until the color is even. (then add another drop if you want the color to be brighter)

* When you steam the dough, the pieces will expand and stick together by themselves. But if you’re worried, you can use water to glue the pieces together, but don’t use too much water! The dough will get gooey.

* If you want to freeze them, put the buns on a plate or baking pan and put it in the freezer to “flash freeze” them. (meaning set food unwrapped in the freezer until it gets frozen and hard) When the buns are completely frozen, put them in a ziploc bag, and keep them in the freezer.

9. Put them in a steamer. Make sure there’s about 1/2 ~ 1 inch space between each bun. They’ll expand and might stick to the bun next to it.

10. Steam the buns in a steamer for 12-14 minutes!

One of them didn't make it... (He was injured, so my boyfriend ate it before the photo was taken.)

Moogle and Mario Boo Ghost

11. Cut seaweed for Kodama’s, Moogle’s and Boo Ghost’s eyes and mouth. I used Japanese seaweed cutter for the face parts for Moogle and Boo Ghost.

Great thing about Kodama is that you don't have to cut seaweed into a perfect circle. The more irregular the circles are, the cuter they look.

Look at the tiny little feet!

Moogle's nose was touching the lid of the steamer. T_T

I made his tongue a bit too big... I ended up putting teeth on top of his tongue, but you'll get the idea.

You can just eat it as is, but I love dipping my buns in ponzu or soy sauce and vinegar mix. I’ll take a bite and dip it in the sauce and let the skin absorb the sauce, and take a bite and repeat. (But the sauce is pretty salty and vinegary… so it’s probably not for kids.)  Many people put a little bit of mustard on it, some people just dip it in soy sauce.
There are many different kinds of filling for steamed bun in Japan. Pizza, spaghetti, curry, bbq, cheese, etc… I haven’t tried making other steamed buns, but writing this post is definitely making me want to make them! hmmmmmm 😀

how to make Moogle, Boo ghost and Kodama steam buns! on my flickr

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

how to make steamed pork bun dough with yeast March 26, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in how-to (all), how-to - decorations/basic stuff.
Tags: , , ,
11 comments

It may take a while to make this, but the bun is so very moist and delicious it’s worth it. Since this recipe makes about 20 buns, I recommend you make tons of buns on weekend and freeze them.
If you want to make buns fast, check out “how to make steamed pork bun dough without yeast.”
You can, of course, use this dough to make Kodama, Moogle, and Boo Ghost.

[How to make steamed pork bun dough with yeast] by my boyfriend’s mom!
*makes 20-21 small buns
– 3 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
– 1 tsp dry yeast
– 1 TBS canola oil
– 1 TBS sugar
– 1 pinch salt
– 1-1/3 cups lukewarm water
– 1/4 tsp baking soda

*This dough was made by my boyfriend.

[pork bun filling]
– 1/2 lbs of ground pork
– About 1 cup of chopped leeks or scallion (you can put more if you want)
– 4~5 shiitake, chopped (if you have any. make sure you remove the stems)
– half a can of bamboo shoot, chopped (if you have any)

[seasoning sauce for filling]
– 3 TBS of soy sauce
– 2 TBS of sake
– 1 TBS of sugar
– 1/4 TS of salt
– 2 TBS of sesame oil (or vegetable oil)

[dough]
1. Mix yeast with 1/3 cup lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar. Mix a little and set sit for 10 minutes until foamy on top.

2. In a bowl mix flour, oil, salt and yeast mixture. Mix together, and add up to a cup of water until the dough is smooth. Don’t add the extra cup of water all at once because you might not end up needing the whole cup. If the dough is smooth and not too sticky then it’s okay.

3. After mixture is combined, knead until smooth, shape like a ball and place in a large bowl.

(my boyfriend's hands, by the way)

4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 2-3 hours (or until dough has doubled in size)

After 1 hour and half. (The recipe says 2~3 hours, but it took about an hour and half for us. I think it's because our kitchen was pretty warm.)

[filling]
5. Make the filling while you wait for the dough to settle. Put all veggies in, pour seasoning sauce in, mix in ground pork with your hand. (*The picture shown is twice more filling than the recipe)

Before...

...and after. (*This is twice as much filling than the recipe)

6. When dough is finished Mix 1 TBS water with 1/4 tsp baking soda and knead into the dough. The dough will be very fluffy and sticky. Let sit for 10-15 min.

7. Place dough on a board, knead and punch out air bubbles.

8. Shape dough into a large cylinder and cut into 3 even pieces. Put two pieces in a covered bowl while you shape the other into a smaller cylinder.

9. Cut smaller cylinder into even pieces about 1″ wide.

10. Roll piece into a ball and flatten with a rolling pin to a circle about 5″ in diameter.

11. Place about 2 TBS filling in the middle of the sheet and seal. (His mom said to make sure to leave a finger sized opening on the top, but he couldn’t manage to do it properly and they turned out fine)

Before steamed... (buns by me)

* If you want to freeze them, put the buns on a plate or baking pan and put it in the freezer to “flash freeze” them. (meaning set food unwrapped in the freezer until it gets frozen and hard) When the buns are completely frozen, put them in a ziploc bag, and keep them in the freezer.

12. Cover finished buns with plastic wrap and let sit 10 minutes before pan frying or steaming.
If you have cheese cloth, you can put it under the buns, so they won’t stick to the steamer, if you don’t cut wax paper or parchment sheet to put underneath the buns.

13. Steam the buns in a steamer for 12-14 minutes!

...and after steamed.

My boyfriends masterpiece!

My boyfriend's masterpieces! So big and fluffy!

We didn’t make characters with this bun, but you can try the same way I show in “how to make Kodama, Moogle, and Boo Ghost steamed pork buns.”

How to make steamed pork bun dough with yeast on my flickr

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!